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This Property Is Condemned

UNRATED CC

Repressed desires, sultry women, sweltering weather and a handsome new stranger in town...this is playwright Tennessee Williams at his very best. Depression-era Dodson, Mississippi, is particularly devastated with the arrival of Owen Legate (Robert Redford), a railroad official with a pocketful of pink slips for the rail yard employees.

Starring:
Natalie Wood, Robert Redford
Runtime:
1 hour, 50 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Sydney Pollack
Starring Natalie Wood, Robert Redford
Supporting actors Charles Bronson, Kate Reid, Mary Badham, Alan Baxter, Robert Blake, Dabney Coleman, John Harding, Ray Hemphill, Brett Pearson, Jon Provost, Robert Random, Quintin Sondergaard, Mike Steen, Bruce Watson, Ralph Roberts, Nick Stuart
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating Unrated (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on February 17, 2004
Format: DVD
How could a movie fanatic go wrong with this one? Sidney Pollack directing, with Francis Ford Coppola helping out with the adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play? A great cast , with especially memorable performances from Natalie Wood, Kate Reid and Mary Badham (as younger sister, Willie Starr)? Roberts Redford and Blake and Charles Bronson thrown in for lagniappe? Sounds like great gumbo to me.
Natalie Wood is absolutely alluring in this one. She and Redford, who also teamed together in the memorable INSIDE DAISY CLOVER, did indeed appear to have a lot of screen chemistry. He is the cynical company man who appears like the Grim Reaper in a small, shabby, depression-era southern town, carrying pink slips with him, instead of a scythe. The role has a lot of resonance now, what with all the corporate downsizing currently going on. Needless to say, the townfolk don't much cotton to Mr Owen Legate, with his fancy suit and self-assured ways.
With a couple notable exceptions. Tom boyish Willie Starr is taken by him right away and the minute her big sister Alma sets eyes on him, she's putty. Wood's expression in that initial glance is part of film history.
Owen further antagonizes the townfolk because they see that Alma has taken a shine to an outsider. Alma's been something of a tramp up this point, givining it up to varying degrees to most of the men in the town. Several of them, including an old geezer with an invilid wife, have been fantazising about further adventures with Alma. And Alma's mother is upset with Owen, because she sees that he is going to take away her gravy train. Hazel Starr is one of Williams' great eccentric female characters, and perhaps his most unctuous (though Amanda Wingfield, in THE GLASS MENAGERIE, is no prize, either. Kate Reid is perfect in the role.
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Format: VHS Tape
When I first saw this film, as a preteen, I thought it was the ultimate romance. Well, I got older ... and saw it again. And it's still pretty romantic. In fact, it's still a film I watch over and over.
The performances are really juicy. Everyone in it seems to understand the over-the-top quality of Tennessee Williams, and no one disappoints. You'll find Charles Bronson and a very young Robert Blake in supporting roles here. Both Kate Reid, as Wood's driving, ambitious `Mama' using her beautiful daughter to hook the town's men, and Mary Badham, as `Willie', the not-so-beautiful younger sister who idolizes Wood, are quite simply superb. Every move, every look from both are truly sublime.
Natalie Wood has always been one of my favorite stars, and she is every inch the star in this one. It's clear from her first closeup how special, how different, and how exciting Alva Starr is to everyone she comes in contact with. She meets her match in Robert Redford, the man who has no dreams, who sees her in unvarnished black and white but comes to appreciate her need to color life ... in fact, realizes he can't live without it when he's separated from her.
Is it great drama? No. But it's glorious soap opera. The best soap opera, the most memorable Southern soap opera, you're likely to find. These people have real problems, real needs, and they're beautifully drawn by the screenwriters (thank you, Francis Coppola, among others) and by the actors who play them. We're given a lot of time to know them and care about them, and we do care, very much.
It's one of my favorite guilty pleasures, and I expect I'll keep watching it for years to come. Don't miss it.
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Format: DVD
A year after Tennessee Williams's 1945 breakthrough success with "The Glass Menagerie," a collection of his then-existing one-act plays was published under the title "27 Wagons Full of Cotton." Included in that collection was "This Property Is Condemned," a two-person play describing a chance encounter between a boy named Tom and an orphaned school drop-out named Willie by the railroad tracks outside a near-abandoned, post-depression-era Southern town. During their conversation, Willie tells Tom about her sister Alva, who was once the town's "Main Attraction" with suitors galore, fancy clothes and always out to party; but died young when her lungs "got affected." Yet, everything about Willie already spells "doom" as well: Her dreaminess and lack of realism, her cheap rhinestone bracelet and raggedy old-fashioned party dress (which were once her sister's), her shabby doll, and of course the fact that she still lives in her family's old railroad-side boarding house, long-since shut down and bearing the sign "This Property Is Condemned," from which the story thus takes its symbolic title.

Inspired by Tennessee Williams's play, Francis Ford Coppola sat down with TV writer-producers Fred Coe and Edith Sommer (as well as uncredited David Rayfiel) and created a screenplay fleshing out the backstory; the story of Alva, who dreams of nothing more than getting out of her small backwater home town and seeing the world (or at least New Orleans, which is more or less the same thing), but is trapped between lack of money and prospects on the one hand and a mother heavily capitalizing on her physical attractions on the other hand.
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